Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I am not the first martial artist to engage in activism. I am, however, taking credit for the term "martial arts activist." It is my new "title" --and one I will gladly wear.
Becoming a martial arts activist and embracing activism, in one way or another --and as my primary focus, has deepened my ability to feel compassion, broadened my perspective of the world, and created a more profound purpose to my life.
I no longer separate the study and practice of the martial arts with the study and practice of living as a conscious and compassionate human being. When I say “martial arts,” I think "life." When I say “martial artist,” I think "human being."
The greatest teachers, regardless of the discipline, teach that we are all connected. Beyond race, religion, gender, geography, sexual preference, wealth or lack thereof --we are all one. The martial arts, as with life, is about opening and expanding one’s awareness. It is about recognizing the interdependence between all things, the micro and the macro, the left and the right.
I believe that it is our job, each of us, to live as an example to others. I feel a sense of responsibility to actively participate in the transformation of consciousness and behavior in the martial arts community --and subsequently, in the world.
I am asking other martial arts teachers to become activists too. We must engage with our communities, educate ourselves, and help alleviate the fear, ignorance, and prejudice which are often associated with our global emergencies --such as incurable diseases, abuse, poverty, sexual exploitation, and environmental destruction, to name only a few. Without our compassion, interest, time, money, voice, intelligence, or whatever we have to offer, change cannot happen --and tragically, fear, pain, discrimination, violence, and even death is perpetuated.
The 100 (http://www.onehundred.org/) is part of my contribution to these ideas.
(Special thanks to yoga teacher Seane Corn for helping me find the right words to express my ideas and feelings)
Posted by From the Desk of Tom Callos at 11:07 AM